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11 May 2015

The basis of many a good outfit!

Whilst writing my last post I realised that this ensemble has been a great foundation for many of my favourite outfits over the past couple of weeks. Have you heard of the shopping rule that you shouldn't buy an item unless you have 5 other things that will go with it?! Well it totally makes sense when you find basic pieces that you can dress up or down, do the school run in your trainers but then whip out your heels to for a lunch date later in the day!


The proof in the pudding.....slip the skate shoes on for the school run

  
H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section

Here's how I would dress it up with heels for a lunch date.


H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section

A few more flat shoe looks for the school run.........


Gap jacket, as above
H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section


Zara jacket, past season
H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section,
Topshop Helios sandal, current


Topshop jacket, ancient
H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section,

Dress it up again........I wore it like this for a day at the races.


French Connection jacket, past season
H&M Breton, current instore from Logg section
Mulberry Bayswater bag, ancient

Yep, a lot of outfits based around these 2 wardrobe staples, which has got me thinking. I haven't made a  purchase in 2 weeks, which isn't long I know but it has made me think about what I will be buying once I lift this self imposed shopping ban. The conclusion I have drawn from this little trying on exercise is that I think I would be wise to spend my money on investing more money on basic foundation items. So, top of my wish list will be a very good quality Breton, similar to the above H&M one. This Petit Bateau one has caught my eye as I would like a lighter colourway and the shape, boat neck and short sleeve really appeals to me. Too bad it is out of stock in my size at the moment! Lucky really, otherwise the spending ban would probably already be broken!


Here's a round-up of what else I've been wearing this week.


MuuBaa leather jacket, via ASOS, past season
Zara T-shirt, past season
Kurt Geiger Laurel skate shoes, past season


Gap jacket, current in the sale
H&M Breton, past season
Zara chino, current
Vans skate shoes


Mango top, past season (thanks to the lovely reader who gave me the idea to dye this!)
Topshop Jamie jeans, past season (also dyed, thanks to an accident with some bleach)
Kurt Geiger Kad sandals, past season


Warehouse denim jacket, past season
Primark Ramone's T-shirt, current 
Sainsbury's Tu pleather skirt, past season
Kurt Geiger Kad sandals

So my challenge is going well so far, no purchases and an almighty cull of clothing. This has really been spurred on by the fact that I have actually totted up how many items of clothing I have bought since the beginning of the year and how much I've spent. Every year I jot every purchase down.....so here goes! I have bought 43 items since January 1st, that includes clothing, shoes, accessories and jewellery. Add to that the 8 pieces that I picked from Topshop after my competition win so I have added a total of 51 items to my already bursting wardrobe. I've spent a total £1106, I am quite shocked by this but by seeing it all in black and white has definitely helped me to step away from the online shopping and stay out of the shops! It has also helped me to be totally ruthless whilst doing my wardrobe edit too! Lots of stuff has found it's way to the charity shop already, some has been set aside for a regular preloved event that goes on in my area and I've stuck a few bits on eBay. I feel better already. I've still got a lot of everything but I'm finding it much easier already to shop my own wardrobe and when I see a look that inspires me I'm checking to see if I can put it together with items I already own rather than assuming I need something new! I'm never likely to get down to a capsule wardrobe of 37 pieces but I think it's a good exercise in making sure you get the wear out of what you've got. 

Out of interest, do you do a proper wardrobe edit every season?

As always I love reading and responding to your comments.

Until next time.

Michelle xx



40 comments:

  1. £1105 is only just over £250 a month isn't it? I've seen budget posts far over £250pm. Looking forward to seeing how you go forward!
    Love those jeans on you btw, I wish my legs looked like that in skinnies but runners legs love flares ;-)

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    1. It is hard to see that in black and white though Lou as that would pay for another family holiday that we would all enjoy....and actually writing that down is excellent motivation! Thank you!

      I have to say that the Topshop Jamie's are by far my favourite skinnies!! Loving the flares too though season....you do look excellent in yours! xx

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  2. I adore the breton look on everyone else (and you do it particularly well!) but for some reason I can't make it work on me. I don't think the stripes are particularly flattering :( I would be afraid to tot up what I've bought this year so far ... maybe I should give it a go?

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    1. Ahh but Helen you know your style so well and exactly what style of top does suit you!! You have found your alternative to a Breton and you stick with it!
      I honestly didn't know what to expect putting those figures out there but getting it out feels good and I reckon it will help me in the long run! xx

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  3. I'd be too scared to keep a list but it probably is the way forward! Love how you've style the Tu skirt I might try this if I may but a la ACDC xx

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    1. Lol! Liz, I reckon by keeping a list it is the start of uncovering any bad habits!! Ahem....I obviously have quite a few! Anyway it's a good starting point, just hope I can see this thing through!
      Hand of heart, I can honestly say it was you you that gave me the idea to put the Ramones t-shirt and Tu skirt together....forever grateful as I don't find skirts all that easy to wear but loved feeling a tad girly,but with a rock edge if you know what I mean ;0) xx

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  4. Love your faux leather skirt outfit Michelle.
    You're a brave lady keeping a list of everything you spend but it definitely makes you think about what you're buying. I'm looking forward to seeing how you get on with the self imposed ban.
    Jane xx
    My Midlife Fashion

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    1. Thank you Jane...I confess I'm not good with skirts but this Tu one was such a bargain the opportunity to have a play around and try and style it was too good to miss!
      Yep....had to take a huge breath before pressing publish! But I really do think it will help me in the long run to put this kind of information out there! I can't promise I will last that long on the spending ban but I am hoping it will mean I make more considered purchases! xx

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  5. You actually total up everything you buy? Arghghgh. I daren't do it. Besides I do so many returns, I can't keep up with myself. The Grumps tried to keep track of the credit card at one point and gave up on me.

    But you're totally right about having good basics which you can dress up and down. And there's something about the weather right now which has me automatically reaching for a stripe. It's a good idea to invest in a good Breton but the smaller thinner ones will be your workhorse items as they are fab for layering and under blazers. I have different ones for different purposes - hence the fact, no minimalist wardrobe for me.

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    1. I must confess, I have been doing the list making for the last few years but this is the first time I've been brave enough to admit it, let alone print it! Things go on and off the lift like you wouldn't believe as I also constantly return stuff, but I like to keep a tally! I also put a note against if I've made a mistake and given it away or sold it so that it's all in black & white at the end of the year.

      Well, there are now a couple of basics on the investment wish list....first up the PB Breton and I think I should also get the Vans skate shoes in leather, they have been worth their weight in gold also.....both these items are perfect for the unpredictable British weather!! xx

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  6. You are a brave lady going on a spending ban, how long are you planning on not buying? some great looks from your 'basics', and love the faux leather skirt, brilliant look.
    Sue x
    Bestfriendstyle

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    1. I didn't want to set myself up for failure here Sue, the last purchase I made was on the 26th April. I would love to make it a month and not purchase another thing until 26th May which will be the last day of my week's holiday in Lanzarote. Thing is as part of my holiday I've have always looked forward to a little treat and I know there is a Zara, Mango etc where we are staying. So a lot of thought will be going into my next purchase to make sure it is absolutely perfect! xx

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  7. Anonymous12/5/15 16:52

    Its been very interesting reading your recent posts. I discovered Unfancy last year and it inspired me to do exactly what you're doing! I culled and edited. Massively reduced my wardrobe and I keep lists of what i spend (an honest list!). I've really enjoyed the experience, it makes me so aware of how i shopped, that i often bought for a fantasy life rather than my real life, and how out of control i could feel just constantly shopping and chasing. Its a work in progress but I like it! I also fully implement the "buy less, buy better" mantra now, and feel far less guilty spending more on items, which is nice. Look forward to reading how it goes for you. Smita x

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot to me and has been hugely motivating! I completely get what you are saying about those fantasy purchases....I've learnt the hard way that I never get the wear out of them as my life mainly revolves around the school run at the moment! So many of my purchases have also been about the thrill of the chase too, once I've secured them my love for them often disappears!! My aim is to enjoy what I already have, when I buy, buy better and make more considered purchases! I have just bought a book called Stuffocation, thanks to one of my lovely readers getting in touch and I am looking forward to savouring it next week as we are off on holiday where I can indulge in some R&R as there will be no phones, no internet or blogs to tempt me! :0) Thanks again Smita xx

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  8. It's rather worrying isn't it when you start adding up your spending. I'm not brave enough to do this at the moment!! I'm pretty good at the old wardrobe week which I do at least twice a year. Invariably I get cross with myself for all the ones I've wasted in barely worn clothes. You're right what you say about basic pieces Michelle. They make for a much more versatile wardrobe x

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    1. It's frightening Donna, I won't lie, but a jolly good exercise! Any chance you could do a youtube style exercise on how to be ruthless on the old wardrobe cull? I think I need to do it more frequently which is why I asked the question! For me, I've found it's mainly the dressier items that don't get the wear out of which is why I've come to the conclusion that in my life/scenario it would be wiser to spend on the items that get worn everyday! xx

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  9. You should so link your eBay account Michelle - we all love your style and would no doubt take a few items off your hands! I completely see where you're come from though. As you know I've been having a sort out myself. I would say I'm not even half way through but so far have sold about £60 worth via a local FB page, feels good recycling that way doesn't it. I wish I practised what I preach more and did regular edits, twice a year would be a good start. I can't say I've been as controlled as you so far and I wouldn't dare to add it all up. Actually, perhaps I should and shock myself as well ! xx

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    1. Mwah Natalie....you don't know how much my conversations with you have helped me through these last few weeks since we met at Bicester! I am in awe of your wardrobe cull and how ruthless you have been! Let me tell you there is nothing quite like seeing the damage in black and white!! You already buy well and considered pieces so I want to end up more like you, please just let some of your brutal cull magic rub off on me! xx

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  10. I am definitely going to try out your Ramones and pleather midi look. It looks really stylish and very cool on you.
    I have made a pact with myself to stop myself buying anything new until I go on holiday. That's in August. The truth is I'm not short of stuff to wear and I'm enjoying the idea of shopping my own wardrobe. Two weeks is a long time to go without a single purchase. Two and a half months seems like a life sentence but I'm determined to give it my best shot.

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    1. Well hellooo! It's lovely to see you here again Sarah!
      Oh my, 2 and half months, that would be so good! Glad to be in such good company with not buying stuff! Are you off to the States again for your holiday, you will be having one almighty splurge then?! There is an awful lot to be said for shopping ones own wardrobe.....I am so into it right now! Keep me posted on your successes and please keep gee-ing me along too! xx

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  11. Hi Michelle
    I have been through a similar trajectory to you and have also been inspired by Unfancy. I don't think she advocates a wardrobe of 37 items though - just that is how many she uses in her 3 month capsule wardrobe.

    I am planning to do a capsule wardrobe for the summer so in theory I don't need anything until autumn. I have poor will power though.

    Another blog I have found useful is http://recoveringshopaholic.com/ where she has been going through a similar process.

    HTH

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    1. Claire, thank you so much for your comment, I feel very encouraged! It is so good to hear that I am not alone on this journey there are many ladies seem to be wanting to change these shopping habits! I am with you on the poor will power front and I know 2 weeks to go without buying anything isn't long to gloat about but I've got to start somewhere and I am hoping to make it a month.
      I have just checked out Recovering Shopaholic and it is great, love the honesty and the fact that the reasons for everything are shared. You have indeed helped! Please keep me posted as to how you are getting along with your capsule......hands up I need all the help I can get! xx

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  12. You're doing so well with this challenge, Michelle. I could not survive with a capsule wardrobe and I admire anyone who can! Loving all of your outfits as always. I think I need I buy those Zara trousers!! Lynne xx

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    1. Thank you Lynne! Pretty chuffed with myself as still no new purchases even though I've been to 2 events which have been tempting to say the least! Onwards and forwards! The Zara trews are lovely....for me a fab alternative to jeans! xx

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  13. This is a great post Michelle. Just look at how many outfits you have created with a simple tee & jeans combo. I write all my purchases down too & have really kept my buying to a minimum for a while. It does make shopping your wardrobe so much easier & I get real pleasure out of knowing the items get well used. Your wardrobe is gorgeous atm so it's really working for you! x

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    1. Thanks Andrea! Yep! It only takes a couple of keys pieces to make a whole lot of outfits work doesn't it?! Clothes are my passion but it hard to think that we could have a had a lovely family experience with the kind of money I've spent so far this year....I hope that makes me stop and think the next time I go hand my credit card over! Shopping my wardrobe has bought me a lot of joy lately....there's nothing like unearthing the gems you've forgotten all about in favour of something new! xx

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  14. I'm another one who doesn't really want to own up to how much I spend! I do post my monthly buys onto a Pinterest board, so I could go and add it all up if I wanted to - I just don't want to!! Ironically, the one thing that has made me rein it in a little bit is blogging. I often feel as though I should be buying new stuff to keep my outfits updated, and to prevent things becoming boring, but when it comes to listing it at the end of the month, I feel such a spendthrift.

    I've made a conscious effort to buy less lately (not that it's that obvious, but I really have!), and I've come to realise that what I often tend to do is buy new versions of stuff I have already. I love boho blouses, but there are only so many you need, aren't there? And don't even start me on my search for the perfect plain tee shirt!!

    On my wishlist now are a pair of tan gladiators, a khaki shirt, and a denim dress. I don't need anything else, and I might make a couple of cheapo purchases (I would like to a couple more logo tees if the truth be known), but apart from that I'm done...

    Probably :-D xx

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    1. I don't think you do badly at all Becky! I think I have bought a few bits that I've seen on other blogs that haven't really worked out for me but I think now I have a much better handle on my own style if that makes sense which will hopefully stop me making those mistakes in future!
      I walked around a store yesterday and every single item I put my hand on I already had a version of it.....safe to say I know what works by now and I don't tend to deviate!
      I'm impressed by your wishlist, just 3 things...excellent! I am 'fessin' up to the same. The Petit Bateau, some white leather Vans and I'm also after some tan flat strappy sandals! Only another 10 days or so til the end of the month! xx

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  15. You have completely inspired me Michelle! I buy because I can and never thought about writing in all down. I have two and three's of items I don't really need. I'm going to do this, scary but I'm going to do it. Might need a little hand holding! x

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    1. So lovely to hear you will be joining me on this journey too! Writing it all down is a great place to start, taking a few things out of the wardrobe you don't wear also helps! I'll be with you every step of the way! Good luck xx

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  16. I never write down what I buy but I can completely see what an impact this would have if I did! It's bad because I sometimes buy things and forget about them - so so bad! As always you look amazing in very outfit - love how you have styled them all.

    Luisa
    xx
    www.astylishsomething.com

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    1. It's an eye-opener to say the least Luisa! I'm pretty good at returning stuff as I do have a couple of rules I stick by...as in if I haven't worn within 7 days of purchase I just don't love it enough! I've been brutal too lately if it hasn't been really easy to style with what I've already got! As I've had some really lovely comments about some older bits I've been dragging out lately I have been a lot more confident about shopping my wardrobe too! I'm still taking little steps but feeling I've been coming on in leaps and bounds! xx

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  17. Michelle that was a very brave and oh so honest thing to do?! I have to say I don't really keep a tight track but always have a pretty good idea what I am spending! I would definitely go for a petit bateau Briton or stripe top, as they really are the best! Xx

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    1. I'm not gonna lie when I say I broke out in a sweat when I let this post go Helen! How do you know what kind of response you are going to get? Thank heavens for my lovely readers as so far the comments have all been so encouraging......it is keeping me going!! I am most definitely holding out for the PB Breton and scouts honour now only looking to add a couple of pieces to my collection each month xx

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  18. I'm sure this qualifies as possibly the most versatile breton ever created! I adore the TU skirt, too:)

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    1. Ahh thank you so much! The Breton definitely qualifies for one of my best ever H&M buys....such a bargain as only £7.99! At the rate I am wearing it, it will be lucky if it lasts out the season! The TU skirt is unbelievable as it is the kind of thing that will come out year after year and cost me nothing but wardrobe space really! xx

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  19. I need to do a proper edit - I am pretty good at ebaying things that haven't been worn for a couple of seasons...I'm also getting more ruthless about what reaches my closet - but my taste is getting more expensive! xx

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    1. I need a bit of your taste rubbing off on me then as I want to by less but buy better also!! I have been pretty ruthless so perhaps I can return the favour! ;0) xx

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  20. You just can't beat a stripes/jeans combo...totally fail-safe! Love the different looks you've put together. I have actually not bought that much this year, I had a big wardrobe clear-out at the end of last year when I thought we were moving & since then I've been a lot more considered about what I've bought and just gone for what I need...so far it's worked! x

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    1. The stripes are so perfect for this time of year aren't Sian as at 8am in the morning you can never quite tell how the weather will turn out! Stripes are always my fail safe!! I have purged a lot of gear and I feel much better for it....fingers crossed I will net a few pennies from my preloved stuff.....enough to bag my PB Breton xx

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